How to Make Real Lasting Change - Pt. 2: Behavioral Change
How many times have you told yourself that you’re going to change an unhealthy behavior in your life?
You might have the best intentions, you might know why you want to change, you might visualize the change, you might even be excited about what that change will produce, but after a few short weeks, you find yourself right back in your old ways.
Why is that?
Well, In this episode, I will be discussing why using intention and willpower to change a specific behavior, is often ineffective and doesn’t last over the long term. It’s almost like paddling a canoe upstream, eventually, you’ll burn out and the water will bring you right back where you started.
The reality is willpower alone is not an effective method for changing behavior. Sure it might work for a few weeks, but in this series, we aren’t after short term change. We’re after a change that we can sustain over the long haul.
So in this episode, I will be discussing why backing up your desired behavior change with the correct skills, beliefs, and personal identities will help propel you to Real Lasting Change in your life.
All right. Hey everyone. And welcome to another episode of the restored mind show. My name is Matt Codde and I'm in this episode, we're going to be talking about making change that lasts in your life. And specifically, we're randomly talking about that on a behavioral level and why, you know, when we try to change our behavior, oftentimes that doesn't work in the longterm. So again, this is, um, the second, um, episode in this series. And so in the first episode, just to recap, if you missed it, we talked about why changing environment, um, you know, as an ineffective way to make change that last, right. You know, so a lot of us, when something comes up, we'll try to change our environment right now, if you're in a bad situation, obviously there is certain elements of your environment. You can change to, you know, improve the situation.
If you're in a bad relationship or an unhealthy relationship, you know, exiting that relationship. Um, obviously it's something you can make is an environmental change. But when we're talking about the longterm changes, right, again, it's an ineffective process because we bringing ourself into that environment. So in this episode, I want to talk about the idea of behavior, because we've all been there where we sit there and try to make a behavior change. But then we fall back into our old behaviors that we know are unhealthy. So let's go ahead and take an example of, um, you know, dieting, right? I mean, how many of us have sat there on December 31st at 1155 or whatever? And we said, you know what, this is it, I'm cutting this, I'm cutting out smoking, I'm cutting out sugar. I'm only gonna eat paleo. I mean, whatever it is, right.
And specifically when it comes to mental health, right? I mean, how many of us have told ourselves we're going to cut out certain compulsive behaviors or avoiding something that's perpetuating fear. I mean, the list goes on and on, right. We, we know on a, on a conscious level that like this behavior is unhealthy, but yet we keep doing it. Right. And then, you know, three weeks into that change, we say, Hey, we're going to do it. And we get, you know, maybe week one goes great. We two's pretty good. And then week three, we're back doing the same things that we've always done. Well, why, you know, like as, as humans, we, we trust in our brain, like we're logical. We know we shouldn't do it, but we do it anyway. And the question is why, why isn't changing your behavior and effective longterm strategy.
And the answer is, is because when you look at the levels of change within an individual behavior is the last little loop, right? It's, it's the last thing that comes, right? So when you look at this idea of the levels of, you know, having a higher purpose, right. Having the identity that you're bringing into something, right? The belief structures and the skillsets, the behavior is just a last little trickle effect. And I know we love to think that like, well, we're no, we're this conscious, you know, I'm, self-aware I understand, I know I should do this, but think about it. Let's just look at a very simple level. And again, this is something that, um, you know, I learned from Jim Fortin, right. And in his, uh, his coaching. But, you know, if you take someone who let's say is looking to make a diet change and they're operating from an identity level of I'm lazy, right.
Or they're trying to make an exercise change and they're operating from an identity. Cause this is, and again, identity, just to be very clear, it's just a story. You tell yourself about yourself. It's not who you really are. Right. And we're going to go really in depth. And into that, um, episode, when I talk about identity, because I honestly think this is like the root of most of the problems that we're facing, especially right now in the United States is just a misunderstanding of identity and really a lack of identity and identity is just something, again that we tell ourselves about ourselves in the same as beliefs. A belief is just a story we tell ourself again and again, and again, it's not necessarily a true, but like a truth, right. Or a loss, so to speak. And, um, anyways, when we come back to behavior, if we're operating from the identity of I'm lazy, that's who I am, or I'm unhealthy, or let's say I'm a smoker.
Right. You know, and if we're operating from the identity of being a smoker and in a belief structure we have of, you know, I can't quit smoking or I can't just change. I can't, um, I can't be healthy. You know, my, uh, my family has always been unhealthy, right. We have these beliefs and we bring that up into our behavior. Well, you can see why it doesn't work, right. Is because we bring all this baggage into the behaviors, right. Again, the behaviors are just a trickle effect. Our behaviors are a reflection of ourselves as a much deeper level. You know, when we talk about our identity, who we see ourselves to be, um, you know, um, our belief structures or skills and so on and so forth. And that's why the deeper we go in this change is how we make real change in our life.
It's not as simple as saying, Oh, this is a bad behavior. I'm not going to do it. Think about someone who, um, is in, let's say a toxic relationship. All right. Well, what is that really? Right. You know, I mean, we objectively, we can look at it and say, you know, you shouldn't be in that relationship that person's, you know, they're really condescending to you. Or, you know, maybe they're rude. Maybe they treat you poorly, all that stuff. Right. We can look at that and be like, well, you know, I know I shouldn't be in this relationship or our ex, especially if we see our friends and we're like, well, they shouldn't be in that relationship. Right. But when we look at making the change, a lot of what is here at an identity level of who you believe yourself to be, is going to be, is going to be reflected in your behavior.
So if you don't think you're worthy, right. If you've, if you've taken your worth as a, as an individual, which again is without question you've, you've always had worth, you always will have worth your worth, has never been in question. It is a birthright, but when you take your worth and you put it in the hands of another and say, okay, well, this person has to tell me I'm worthy. Right. And when they, you know, if they treat you poorly or this and that, you're waiting for their approval on something. Well, naturally your behavior is just going to follow suit, right. Because at an identity identity level, you don't believe yourself to be worthy. It's not that you aren't, it's just a belief, right. And again, we miss adopt identities and beliefs all the time. Right. Oftentimes it's just from something someone said to us when we were young and we just believe it, you know, someone was saying to me the other day, it's like, how many of us still operate in the, in the belief that we were told when we were young?
Like, don't talk to strangers. Right? Like, but we carry that around all the time. Right. And, um, when we talk about changing behavior, it's a very, it's a very ineffective approach in the longterm. If you're just going to focus on the behavior, like we know changing our environment. Yes. That can be helpful and very, you know, specific circumstances. But as a longterm, if our whole focus is to change our environment so that we feel okay individually, um, we're going to have a really hard time with life because we're always going to be looking to, you know, change our environment to fix us. The problem is, is we are always in our environment, right? So then we move to the next lot, like next logical level, right. Which is a behavior, right. Our behavior. And if we try to change our behavior, the thing is, is a lot of us don't have success with that.
Well, why it's because we bring in a lack of skills into that behavior change one. Right? So that's obviously going to be the next thing that we're going to talk about. But beneath that, we bring in beliefs and stories about our identity that ultimately are reflected in our behavior. If you really want to know what someone believes, watch their behavior, right? Like behavior always tells the story. I mean, that's the one thing I've learned from doing counseling for so long is behavioral. Always tell a story. If someone might tell me, they're not afraid of, let's say touching a doorknob, right. Because they're, you know, let's say what's something about germs. They might tell me in the back, no, like I'm not afraid if I ask them to do it. And they won't, their behavior will always tell the story. And that's what I mean, the behavior is always the end thing.
And if we're trying to change the end without changing everything underneath the behavior, obviously it's not going to work. Right. That's why people, when they try to quit smoking, when you have the identity of I'm a smoker in your behavior is in direct conflict with that, right? Like you trying not to smoke and your behavior, isn't a direct conflict with your youth, your identity. That's naturally not going to last same with belief. If I have the belief that dieting is impossible or dieting never works well, naturally, if I'm carrying that belief into the idea of changing my diet, it's probably not going to last same thing with anxiety and OCD and, you know, depression. If I come into the whole program, right. If I'm getting help and I come into it with the belief that, Oh, you know, you can't get better from anxiety. It's math, it's chronic.
And so are the things that I, um, you know, I hear people bring in, right. You know, to, to the counseling room. It's like, you know, they come in with these beliefs and these, these stories that are in direct conflict with the changes that we're trying to make, and they wonder why they don't get better. Well, it actually has nothing to do with changing the behavior as much as it does to looking at the beliefs and the identities that they're bringing into the behavior change. And so when we're talking about making change, that lasts in life, it really is important to understand that yes, behavior is part of change. It really is. Right. But what's underneath behavior. What drives behavior, right. When we talk about cognitive behavioral therapy, we are talking about making behavioral change and behavioral change can create change in the neurocircuitry of your brain.
It ain't no that's been shown with neuroplasticity, but what changes behavior, right. That's really what we're the whole point of this series is, is like, look, how do we actually make real change? I mean, if we look at another example, real quick of what's going on with the, um, the rioting and the protesting that's happening currently in our country, in the United States, the behavior is the end result, right. That is the end result of belief systems and identity systems, right. That people have adopted. And it's not necessarily, yeah. That it's good or bad, but when you look at the end of the behavior, you can take someone who is doing an unhealthy behavior and try to stop them, but it doesn't work. Right. There's a reason that like, you know, how many times have, uh, maybe you, you can relate to the idea of having someone who has an addiction right.
And telling them not to do that. Right. Or even trying to force them to stop. Does that work? No. I mean, I mean, I I've yet to see that it'd be an effective strategy. Even if you tie them down to a bed, it might just only prevent it. Right. And that's why when, when we really look at making real change in our own lives, because again, that's the only thing we should ever really be focusing on, um, until you've mastered yourself. I mean, I, I really believe that, you know, the best thing you can do is focus on yourself because it's the only thing you ever are going to have control over the idea of changing your environment and changing other people doesn't work, any kind of counseling. Um, the thing, the thing in any kind of transformation that a person experiences is a result of that person, making that transformation happen has nothing to do with me or any other counselor.
And if a, if a guide or counselor tells you that, they're the ones that make your transformations, you should run for the Hills because that's just not true. True, true transformation comes from within true healing comes from within, it's always in the hands of the individual, oftentimes it's my job, or, you know, another person's job to just to help guide them to make their own transformation. Right. And, um, so when we talk about changing behavior, especially if it's something that you really don't like in your life or something that's really detrimental to your life, it's not as simple as just saying, I'm going to start doing this right. And just hoping that that sticks because it doesn't over the long term. What we really need to start looking at are the skill sets. You're bringing into that. And we're going to talk about that in the next episode, then even on a deeper level, the belief systems, the identity, and then at the, at the bottom of the overall underlying purpose that you're bringing in.
So, um, you know, hopefully this was helpful and understanding the why, just making a simple behavior change is often ineffective and doesn't last over the longterm. And, um, as we move into these deeper levels, I hope you really see how the trickle effect is going to just kind of rise up. And if you are looking to make real change, really operating from these bottom levels up as opposed to top-down. So, uh, thank you for tuning in today. And again, if you found this helpful, we always appreciate if you'd subscribe, uh, to like, to comment, to share. Um, we really do want to get this out to two people and especially, you know, making sure, especially with how things are now with the lockdown and everything, making sure people are getting the correct mental health help. And, uh, and again, we have our restored mind society where we have our live Q and A's our monthly workshops as well, and as well as our programs to support you as well. So thank you for taking the time to hang out today and we will see you guys soon.